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Cooch Behar Tourism And Travel Guide
14.2° C / 57.5° F
November to February
1 to 2 Days
Bagdogra Airport (121 kms)
New Cooch Behar Railway Station (3.5 kms)
Lying on the northern fringes of the state of West Bengal, close to Bangladesh and en route to Assam and the north-eastern states of the country, Cooch Behar is a district and a town boasting of a rich history. One of the many princely states of India during the rule of the British East India Company, Cooch Behar was later integrated into the Indian union after 1947. The remnants of the princely state remains strewn across the district. From palaces to temples and lakes, most of the major tourism attractions can be traced back to the days when Cooche Behar was under the rule of the royal family. Here is a snippet of travel guide to see in the district.
How to Reach
The airport in Cooch Behar is not functional because of which it has to depend upon Bagdogra Airport located 121 km away in Siliguri which is the nearest aerodrome to the district. Bagdaogra is well connected by air with Kolkata and other major cities like Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai. There are regular flight services between Bagdogra and other cities operated by public and private carriers. From the airport tourists can hire cabs to reach Cooch Behar. They can also buses from the bus terminus to Siliguri to travel to their destination.
Cooch Behar however does have its own railhead. The New Cooch Behar Railway Station It lies on the New Jalpaiguri and Bongaigaon section of Barauni-Guwahatui line. These lines were laid back in 1966. The railway network here is operated by the Northeast Frontier Railways, and there are a fair number of trains that originate from and pass through Cooch Behar. Most trains moving towards the northeast will have to cross Cooch Behar given its location. Dibrugarh-Amritsar weekly Express, Guwahati –Kolkata Garib Rath Express, Kanchanjungha Express are some of the many trains that stop at Cooch Behar. The station is a mere 3.5 km from the town and there are local transports readily available to transport people to their hotels.
Owing to its location, Cooch Behar is a major roadway junction, after Siliguri that leads to Bangladesh and the North-eastern states. The headquarters of North Bengal State Transport Corporation, Cooch Behar has regular bus services between the states of Assam, West Bengal and Bihar. Private and public Coaches collectively accounts for the district’s superb connectivity with far flung areas which makes travel by road a desired option.
Cooch Behar is an important district in the northern part of the state which accounts for a well developed transport system. Not only with neighbouring towns and cities, Cooch Behar has a good commuting system for the locals and the tourists. Totos, auto-rickshaws and rickshaws are readily available that make travel to any place easy and hassle-free. Bus services are quite improved. Bikes and cycles are preferred modes of transportation for the residents.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
Summer (March to August):
Owing to its location at the northern part of the state, Cooch Behar enjoys a pleasant summer. These are the most dreaded few months in West Bengal as the plains are literally on fire. It is scorching hot everywhere. In comparison, summer in Cooch Behar is pretty mild. Temperature remains in the comfortable range of 20°C and 32°C. What is bothersome however is the high humidity which saps the energy out of the people. A visit to Cooch Behar during the summer months is not recommended because of this humidity which makes travelling and sightseeing a painful affair.
Monsoon (July to October):
Monsoon offers a respite from the high humidity of the summer months. However, monsoon here is quite harsh and the district experiences torrential showers. The incessant heavy showers cause mayhem in the region and frequent flooding. Cooch Behar receives rainfall as high as 3200 mm and 90% of this takes place between April and September. Flooding and continuous showers makes it difficult to travel around the town and hence monsoon is best avoided here.
Winter (December to February):
The light showers in October and November marks the onset of winter in Cooch Behar. Winter is the most pleasant and comfortable season for visiting the district. Humidity goes down considerably, there are no rains and the weather is perfect for sightseeing and exploring the town. The temperature hovers between a manageable 10°C and 20°C. The weather is neither freezing cold or sultry. The mornings and the nights remain foggy and the slight chill in the air feels refreshing.
Things to Do
Trip to Rajbari:
The first thing to do when in Cooch Behar is to get a tour of the amazing Rajbari or Cooch Behar Palace. Built in classical western style during the reign of Maharaja Nripendra Narayan in 1887, the palace is sprawled across an enormous area. It is a stunning architectural specimen that towers over the surroundings. It was modelled after the Buckingham Palace in London and with its arcaded verandahs, a front porch, ornamental dome and Corinthian columns, the Rajbari continues to mesmerize its visitors even to till today.
The rule of the royal family in Cooch Behar for decades accounts for some beautiful architectural structures and temples. There are a fair number of temples that one comes across in the district, located at short distances of each other. The Siddeshwari Kali Temple, Kamteshwar Temple, Siddanath Shiva Temple are much venerated and held in high regard by the locals. They have a huge following and are visited all through the year. These temples were constructed at different times in history during the rule of different rulers. Baneshwar Shiva Temple and the Madan Mohan Temple are among the most popular temples in Cooch Behar. Constructed in 1889, Madan Mohan temple houses different deities, primary among them is Madan Mohan himself.
Trip to Dooars:
Dooars in North Bengal is one of the state’s biggest attractions for tourists. They have sprawling lush tea gardens and tea estates producing some of the world’s finest tea, dense forests and jungles, meandering mountain rivers and wildlife sanctuaries. It is nature’s gift to the state and is mesmerising. Cooch Behar is located in close proximity to some areas of the Dooars, namely Chalsa and Murti. Tourists can drive down to these places which are absolute gems. Far from the madding crowd, the two scenic spots nestled in the lap of nature are all that one needs for the wounded souls. A mere 2-3 hours drive is all that is needed to reach Dooars from Cooch Behar.
Stroll along Sagardighi:
This ocean, like pond which was excavated during the rule of Maharaja Hitendra Narayan is a major attraction in the district. Located close to the centre of the town, the pond, though certainly not as big as its name lays claim to, is big enough. The water body and the surrounding trees attract large number of migratory birds each year which makes it a favourite birding spot for bird lovers and photographers. Strolling along the banks of Sagardighi, watching the beautiful birds in action is an interesting way to pass time during one’s stay.
Eating in Cooch Behar
No matter where tourists go in West Bengal they are treated to some amazing cuisines and mouth-watering delicacies. When in West Bengal, there is never any dearth of good food. As you move northwards, there are other influences in the cuisine. In Cooch Behar there is a confluence of cultures which has impacted the food of the region. Nevertheless the dominating influence continues to be that of Bengali. The lip-smacking fish and rice, mixed vegetable dish, Hilsa, paratha are few of the popular dishes found here. Like all the other places in the state, here too one gets treated to some delicious sweets like roshogolla, cham cham, mishit doi, sandesh etc.
Shopping in Cooch Behar
A prominent district and town that it is, Cooch Behar has large number of super markets offering a plethora of items. These are however available all across the state. If you are looking to pick up something that is unique to the region you could drop in to the handicraft centres. Sitalpati, a kind of mat is woven here. They are available in different colours, textures and degrees of smoothness. There are a bit on the expensive side but are beautiful to look at. They are believed to have cooling effect which is perfect for Bengal weather. Bamboo and cane baskets and other decorative pieces, jute bags, kantha work are also available here and make good gifting items.